Export numbers for Japanese sake in 2016 extend a trend from the last few years, namely robust growth in demand for premium brands overseas. According to data released in late January from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, exports of Japanese sake reached 15.5 billion yen, the 7th year in a row of record numbers. Experts believe it is tied to overall growth in the popularity of Japanese food and Japanese restaurants overseas (exports of Japanese green tea saw massive growth as well). An earlier report measuring export value through November tracked the growth at slightly more than 10% over the previous year.
Much of the growth is due to demand in Asian countries, including China, Korean and Singapore. However, we know from several of our Sake Today partners in the brewing industry, that demand continues to rise in America, Canada and a handful of European countries as well. The export volume is not (yet) enough to fully sustain the industry, but it certainly provides relief against a backdrop of declining domestic consumption.